England players celebrate the dismissal of Ravindra Jadeja on Day 3 © Getty Images
India produced an awful show with the bat on the third day of the fourth Test against England to crash to a huge defeat by an innings and 54 runs at Old Trafford in Manchester. Devarchit Varma rates the performance of the English players on a scale of one to 10.
India crumbled once again to the part-time spin of Moeen Ali as England romped home with a huge win by an inning and 54 runs at Old Trafford on Saturday. It was a shambolic performance by the Indians, who have now lost all the advantage that they had gained at Lord’s with a fine win, and they are now trailing 2-1 in the ongoing series.
England have been on a recovery path since the third Test at Southampton, which they had won by a margin of 266 runs. The hosts have outplayed India with both bat and the ball. The win in the fourth Test at Manchester puts them in a commanding position, as a draw will ensure them a Test series win after more than a year. Let’s see the English players’ marking out of 10 (according to batting order):
Alastair Cook – 5/10: The England captain’s dismissal off Varun Aaron in the first innings indicate that he is not in the best of form yet. He was not in a great position when he played the ball, and was dismissed without a significant contribution. But the very fact that “c Cook b Anderson” has become a norm in the series with the Indian batsmen giving so many catches to Cook at first slip is commendable. Cook has now won two matches on a trot as a captain, and he and his side would be expected to get better from here on.
Sam Robson – 1/10: The right-handed opener showed all the signs of a strong opening partner for Cook, but the Australian-born right-hander has been exposed by the Indians. He has not made any significant mark so far in the series, and more often than not, his dismissal has exposed the middle-order to the new ball.
Gary Ballance – 6/10: Ballance has had an excellent series so far, and the rare blip came in England’s only innings when he was trapped in front of the wickets. He earns most marks for the sharp catch that he took to get rid of the Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the second innings.
Ian Bell – 6/10: England’s middle-order batsman played well for his 58, continuing his good form with the bat. There are still questions surrounding Alastair Cook’s form, but Bell’s innings provided them assurance that one of their senior batsman is getting back to be consistently among the run-getters.
Joe Root – 7/10: Root is fast becoming the next big thing in world cricket. He has been excellent at home, even though he has struggled outside England. Root has made the most of the opportunity of playing at home and scoring heavily. He batted with lot of responsibility in England’s only innings, especially at a time when all the seniors were back in the hut. His knock, and his partnership with Jos Buttler, ensured that England not only take a healthy lead but also maintain their domination over India.
Moeen Ali – 6/10: As a batsman, Moeen Ali has his own issues to solve. To believe the fact that one of England’s upcoming batsmen fell prey to the most common trick was hard, but Moeen continued to haunt — yes, haunt — the Indian batsman, as he snaffled as many as four wickets in the second innings. For the ardent England fans, they might as well have found their next Graeme Swann!
Jos Buttler – 5/10: England’s new wicketkeeper-batsman in his first two games has done what Matt Prior did for years — bat for as long as possible lower down the order and “keep the opposition out on the field” (Prior actually once said that). With two half-centuries in as many Tests, Buttler has made a strong mark, but the fact that he struggled against the movement of the ball in his own backyard was a tad surprising. If England weren’t on a winning streak, the critics would surely have pointed this out as a shortcoming.
Chris Woakes – 4/10: Chris Woakes has had two ordinary games. At Southampton when England bagged 20 wickets, he could get none, and at Old Trafford when England got 20 more, he at least has one. Woakes batted with the tail and somehow failed to accelerate and get quick runs — something that he was expected to do.
Chris Jordan – 3/10: Like the two crucial catches he took on the final day of the third Test, Jordan made his mark once again on the last day with two wickets in as many balls in India’s final innings. He is certainly struggling with the ball at the moment, and was belted for as many as 65 runs in 12 overs.
Stuart Broad – 8/10: England’s hero of the match. Broad ran through the Indian line-up on the first day with an impeccable bowling display. He has started to find his rhythm, and England would not mind the timing of that at all. The injury that he suffered during the third day was indeed a nasty one, but who would have thought that the match-winning performance was already delivered by him, that too on the first day?
James Anderson – 7/10: It will not be unjust to say that the Indians somehow are intimidated by the England pacer. At least the way the batsmen handled him in 2011 and in this series explain that. Anderson is slowly touching the peak once again, as his movement with the ball and the quality of keeping the batsmen continuously under pressure can be seen again. He bagged five wickets in the match.
(Devarchit Varma is a reporter with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)